10 Best Cheeses For Merlot
Pairing cheese with wine is one of the oldest culinary pleasures in life, being nearly as old as these food and drink categories themselves. Finding a match that works is great, but it can also be time-consuming if one is not sure where to look. This particular list focuses on pairing cheese with a good Merlot. Generally speaking, various factors in both the wine and cheese decide the pairings. Since we already have the wines, we’ll now choose cheeses of various tastes, and textures, and ages that complement Merlot nicely. Our list of best cheeses for Merlot will try to accomodate a variety of preferences.
10. Denmark’s Finest Cheese Creamy Havarti
A good Havarti cheese is the perfect semi-hard consistency that pairs well with a medium-bodied Merlot. This particular product has a sharp and strong taste that complements the usual medium tannin content of Merlot wine. It’s also mildly sweet which should blend well with a fruity Merlot. Some consumers say this line of Havarti is a bit salty, which may be something you’ll want to consider depending on the type of Merlot you have.
9. igourmet Swiss Emmentaler
This Emmental cheese ships quickly in a reusable cooler to ensure maximum freshness and taste every time. It has both a mildly nutty taste and aroma that make it another ideal pairing for most Merlots. The mildness of this cheese should go well with the fruity textures of darker Merlots and offset the usual acidity nicely. While these are some of the main factors, flavor intensity and saltiness level of the cheese is also something to consider and this Emmental cheese seems to strike the perfect balance with each.
8. Tillamook Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar
You don’t always need to complement your Merlot with the perfect cheese; contrasting the two also works well depending on your style. In this case, the bold and sharp flavors of this cheddar cheese should contrast well with the milder tastes of many Merlots on the market. Note that when it comes to pairing a good cheddar with Merlot, younger cheese is best. This particular product is aged about a year maximum–several months less than many other artisan cheddars–and should serve you well.
7. Gourmet555 Jarlsberg Cheese
Jarlsberg is another cheese recommended by many experts as one of the ideal cheese pairings for many wines, Merlot among them. This cheese comes from Norway and has a pleasantly mild and nutty flavor that will complement your medium-bodied Merlots very nicely. It’s best to go with a Jarlsberg that has been aged for some time here, especially if your Merlot of choice is low in relatively high in tannins. This Jarlsberg should be the perfect mixture of medium age and semi-hard texture that brings out the best in most Merlots.
6. Gourmet555 Gruyere Cheese
This cheese from Switzerland ticks pretty much all of the boxes you could possibly want in a cheese for your Merlot. It is aged several months for a nice, semi-hard consistency and has a nearly perfect nutty and salty flavor that will bring out the boldest flavors in most Merlots. The Gruyere also features a rich and creamy texture to top everything off, making it one of the most comprehensive options for your Merlot and cheese needs.
5. Vella Sonoma County Dry Jack Cheese
If you’re sensing a theme here, it’s only because we’re dedicated to providing you with the best pairings of cheese and Merlot. That means cheeses like this well-aged dry Monterey Jack that have a relatively hard texture and a sweet and nutty flavor that complement the wine well, depending upon tannin levels. This particular brand uses a special cracked black pepper rub in the rind that may add just the touch of spice you’re looking for as a way to offset some of the fruitier or sweeter Merlots.
4. Don Juan Manchego Reserve Extra Aged
Manchego is another cheese recommended by connoisseurs of both wine and cheese to pair with Merlot. However, we’ve chosen something a bit different to add a little more variety to the list. As the name suggests, this cheese is aged longer than some of its competitors. While most cheeses that go with Merlot are aged a medium amount, this Manchego is a fine choice for any Merlots that have a relatively high tannin count. The age of the cheese means that wine high in tannins will bind well to the fats and proteins in the cheese and clean your palate nicely.
3. Castello Reserve Aged Havarti
Another Havarti option for your wine and cheese needs, this one is well aged. It provides a good choice for full-bodied Merlots with high tannin contents.
It is both buttery smooth and nutty in texture to perfectly blend with most types of Merlot. The manufacturer has added what they describe as just a bit of milk salts, so the salt content may be a bit lower than most Merlot-pairing cheeses here.
2. Auricchio Provolone Piccante Classico
Provolone is a popular cheese but you may not realize one of its many uses is to complement a good Merlot. That’s because Provolone cheese is generally the perfect semi-hard texture that one looks for in a good partner for their Merlot. Unlike some cheeses, it also has a range of tastes from sharp to very sweet, so its overall versatility is much increased. In short, Provolone is an excellent choice for a wide variety of Merlots.
1. igourmet Parmigiano Reggiano 24 Month Top Grade
You may know this cheese by its more common moniker of Parmesan. But we’ve chosen this particular variety because along with Grana Padano, it’s one of only two varieties that qualify as real Parmesan cheese to most experts. It is both extra firm and very well aged making it one of the best cheeses for Merlot that you can find.
Unlike some numbered lists, no cheese here is better than all of the others for pairing with Merlot. Each one represents a somewhat different taste, texture and style to give you a variety of options. Any cheese here will pair well with a Merlot depending on the specific type you prefer.
No matter which cheese you choose, we’re sure that each one represents some of the best cheeses for Merlot pairings, and will serve you well at the next gathering. We’ve made the process easy for you but your guests are sure to appreciate all of the hard work you put into your wine and cheese.